One Month, Four Seasons

As January draws to a close I’m struggling mightily to find some equilibrium.

It’s been a month of cold and frosty nights. It burns off early, but some of our plants collapsed from the cold.

Frozen Nasturtium

Frozen Nasturtium

These nasturtiums bloomed last spring, died in the heat of summer, then self-seeded in late November. The frost did them in.

frozen-bird-bath

Frozen bird bath

frost-kitty-paws-in-the-garden

Frosty paw prints courtesy of Mouse

It’s also been a month of rain.  Cold days gave way to magnificent rain storms. It was too much all at once, but at the same time exactly what we needed. The sky opened up and dumped record-breaking rain on our parched state.

Almaden Lake after a storm

Washed out trail along Almaden Lake

The powers that be declared last week that the six-year California drought is all but over.

Pacific storms in early January have brought widespread, intense precipitation to California, providing relief to some drought-stricken regions but also flooding. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about 35% of the state is no longer experiencing drought, and the proportion of areas under extreme-to-exceptional drought fell from 38% on January 3rd to 28 percent by January 10. Cumulative precipitation hit a record high, doubling the historical average for this time of year. While a weak La Niña persists, sea surface temperature will transition back to normal by February 2017. Surface reservoirs, especially in Northern California, are beginning to refill, but groundwater aquifers in many parts of the state remain severely over drafted and will take far longer to recover. Source: Californiadrought.org

Yesterday the temperatures climbed into the high sixties (19 C). A week of unseasonably warm days offered a much-needed dry out for communities with overflowing riverbanks and mudslides. Potholes turned into sinkholes, and the CHP humorously named one Steve.  You can read about Steve’s short “life” as a magnificent sinkhole here. I’ve been raking pine needles, removing dead branches and gently pruning damaged leaves.

thinning-the-grass-on-the-walkway

And finally, it’s been a season of disquieting change.

The country said goodbye to President Obama and First Lady Michelle.  Obama the candidate campaigned on hope. Once elected, he brought intelligence and grace to the White House. Obama governed in measured and thoughtful ways, and his presidency was one of inclusiveness.  When the US elected its first black president, it gave the rest of the world hope. The United States was not a racist nation after all!

I still don’t know how we got here? January draws to a close in a season of hatred. Inexplicably, this country reversed course. We’re on a maddening and frightening  path to the 1930s.

san jose women's march

San Jose Women’s March * January 21, 2017

I’m trying to find a balance between action and despair. It’s only about a week since the women’s march and I’m already feeling deflated. Pauline said it bluntly: we’ve elected a mad man.

None of the rules apply.

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45 thoughts on “One Month, Four Seasons

  1. We thought we would never see green again in our parched state – and the heavens opened. We will find our way out of this darkness, too. But not through despair – through resourcefulness and hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They’re predicted an amazingly green spring this year, Audrey. I’m excited to see what blooms. My front garden is awash in self-seeded sweet peas, nigella, cornflowers and something new this year that will make itself known soon. I can’t wait.

      “resourcefulness and hope”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Plants look so sad after they’ve been frosted don’t they?
    I wondered about what sort of mice you have over there for a second when I saw the footprints, then I remembered you have a cat called Mouse 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • They do. I’m always amazed at what comes back from the frost. We get so little of it here, and most of the garden seems impervious, but the nasturtiums are fussier than I expected. They didn’t like the heat or the cold.

      I should expand my caption to read “Mouse the Cat”. He was named by a neighbor who pretty much abandoned him, so now he lives with us. We’ve tried alternative names but nothing sticks.

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  3. You would be in despair at the chaos that is around the country as a result of the travel ban. However, it is heartening to see all the outrage, from around the world, and how so many have come to help those caught up in the mess.
    Good news about the breaking of the drought. ☔️☔️☔️

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is heartening to see people come to the defense of stranded travelers. I heard tonight that they handcuffed a five year old boy. What is the world coming to? The rain has been wonderfully cleansing. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, Anne.

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      • orange POTUS ~ it took me a while to work it out, but I love it! As I understand it, Americans are very respectful of their President, even if they disagree with him. So calling him this must show your level of frustration and anger.

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        • I respect the office, but I don’t respect the man. He has the lowest approval rating of any sitting president. There are already multiple lawsuits filed against him, the most significant being the current stay on his ridiculous ban on travel from predominately Muslim countries. He’s a disgrace. The term POTUS stands for President of The United States and the term SCOTUS refers to the Supreme Court of the United States. Hence “orange POTUS” as it’s hard for me to even use his name. The world fears and distrusts him, and many in the US feel the same way. I live in California, one of the most liberal states in the Union *and* I also live in Silicon Valley, one of the most diverse communities in the state.

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  4. Its alarming how the country did such an abrupt turnaround but maybe that IS the equilibrium. The strange thing about balance is that when one thing is out of whack somewhere, another seemingly comes back somewhere else. Throughout history, America has always faced insurmountable challenges but it always survived and came back better than ever. This is just one of those times. Who knows why things happen, but this too shall pass. Like the drought, although it seemed to go on forever, the rain will come. You just have to wait out the storm. Don’t despair and don’t lose hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why do things always have to be so extreme? The weather – from drought to floods, and politics – from Obama to Trump. Hopefully some kind of agreeable equilibrium will present itself, on both fronts. In the meantime, keep up the good work in your garden and lose yourself in that instead!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In trying to find something positive about the new administration, I have to say he has united the country and world – against him! People who have never been to a march, never written to their representatives or made phone calls, are now being activists. Other than that, it’s going to be a long four years. Glad to hear your storms have ended and that you are drying out some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He certainly has turned a lot of people into activists. And as others have said, it often takes an extreme measure to knock people out of their complacency. I hope we can get him out of office before he does too much harm.

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  7. I’m in agreement with the consensus here. It’s the extremes that bring us to our feet and wake us from our complacency. Everything has a cycle. This one will end hopefully quicker than the drought. My plants have taken a hard hit too from the deep freeze here as well. I may be doing this all wrong but I have for several years watched taped news in fast forward with the sound off. I get to stay abreast of what is happening without having it infiltrate my body. It’s like listening to a friends daily drama that they don’t change but keep wanting to tell you about. I’ve found if I don’t give it my full attention, I feel better and they have vented. Nothing changes but I’m not wrecked. We will fix some of what is wrong, but as history clearly shows, there will always be something else. I just spread the love everywhere I go and let that be my driving force for good. Now it’s time to head to the market for supplies to weather out the next storm coming in. I love that we have a heads up by the weather people. 🙂 Stay dry and warm for now and keep heart. It will get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marlene, that’s an interesting way to watch the news. I like your analogy of listening to a friend that won’t change, but continues to bend your ear. It’s been many years since I’ve been faced with that situation, but I remember them well.

      Best of luck weathering the next storm. Is it rain or snow this time? It’s raining here again, but nothing like mid-January. I’m sorry to hear about your frost damage. You’ve had sustained freezing temperatures so I imagine some of them took quite a hit. I hope a lot of it comes back for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Alys. I hope a lot of it will come back too. Snow seems to have missed us but they are talking freezing rain through tomorrow. I don’t have to go out and have plenty to do here. 🙂 I’ve watched the news this way since I became aware how toxic it was to my body to be so stressed. I can stop the fast forward when I want to really hear something but don’t have to OD on the drama. Blood pressure stays much lower this way. I’m informed, not overwhelmed. If there is something I can do about something, like sign a petition or make a call, I’m on board. If I can’t do anything about it, I send out good energy instead of spreading the bad. I can’t march or protest but I can be kind to all I meet. It will get better. It has to.

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        • Freezing rain sounds miserable. I would dread going out in that. We’re enjoying mild temperatures again thanks to another tropical storm. It’s in the mid to high fifties again. I got in a lot of raking and a bit of pruning over a couple of days, fitting it in here and there. You are wise to know yourself and act accordingly. I’ve always self-censored movies for the same reason. It may be the best film out there, but if it involves abuse or certain violence or subject matter I stay away. Otherwise I will never get it out of my head. You are always sending out good energy. I see your wonderful comments everywhere, and I know what a caring person you are in person as well. I’m so glad you’re a part of my world.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Alys or the kind words. If you want to see a sweet movie, Look for Mr Church on Netflix or Amazon. There was another called The Magic of Belle Isle. Kind movies. I’ve edited out so much that I barely watch TV at all unless it’s a cooking or DIY show. 🙂 Can’t even watch House hunters when they bicker or pick at each other.

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            • I hear that! They used to have House Hunters on TV when I was seeing the physical therapist two or three days a week. I lived for seven years without a TV, and find that when Mike is out of town I don’t even turn it on. I listen to most of my news on NPR but of course once you’re on the web, it’s hard to avoid. Thanks for the movie tips. I’m always looking for something good to rent.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. I spent ages finding out about Steve, following the Twitter feed and listening to various songs the Canadian sink hole survivors came up with for their unexpected visitors. That was a fun side route over morning coffee Alys. Nasturtiums are usually done in by the frosts here too. But never fear, if there are seeds, they shall return – just like a good sink hole 🙂

    The drought is over? Or mostly over? How exciting! What a relief that must be. Lets ask the rain to keep returning at a regular and gentle rate so the aquifers rise, the lakes fill up and the wild life can flourish once more. As so many of your commenters have written, nothing lasts for ever, there is always change and no matter what we think, there is always an opportunity for improvement. Go high!

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    • I popped over to the link, Helen. Thank you. I know there is good in the world. I also know that this too shall pass. But I find it exhausting and demoralizing watching this hateful man at work. I need to find a way to protect my heart, yet still resist. Limp nasturtiums is a great way to put it.

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      • We are getting nothing but Trump, Trump, Trump on the news over here and people have started to complain. For you living directly with his executive orders and other displays of tyranny, I can imagine this must be very distressing.

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        • It is distressing and unrelenting. I’m sorry you’re getting so much of the coverage as well. I think he’s put the whole world on edge with his careless actions and remarks. He’s antagonizing Iran, China and Australia this week, among others. it’s exhausting and frightening. I don’t know how far he’ll go.

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          • Well, he might at least inadvertently lead to the rest of the world to start talking to each other on friendlier terms 😕. It must be a very challenging time for diplomacy….. I hope you can find a way to switch off, sometimes, Alys.

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            • I think the “gift” if you can call it that, will be lifting people out of their complacency. Not voting is just as bad as voting for hateful “change” in my opinion. The orange POTUS is in office, but is no means a legitimate mandate. 42% of eligible voters didn’t vote! And of the 58% that did vote, over half voted for Clinton. She won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. It’s all water under the bridge now, but imagine if just a small percentage of those not voting, cared enough to go to the polls?

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  9. The temperature shifts in Southern California are a little wild, too. The nights have been very cold, but during the day I begin to think I may need to water again soon if we don’t get a little more rain. Hard to believe since just a week ago we were quite soggy. The sad and frightening state of “our union” in this season is exhausting me. I don’t remember a time when I’ve felt so drained by the combination of fury and deep sadness. “We the people” has taken on great significance, hasn’t it? Happy gardening…a good stress reliever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra, the same here. One of my pots dried out and the cyclamen were wilting. I couldn’t believe it either. It started raining again last night though. How about for you?

      The day to day politics is exhausting. That is how I feel every day. And even when you set out to avoid it, it’s everywhere. This morning I heard orange POTUS say that he would “punish” UC Berkeley for canceling an alt-right speaker. He’s like a flippin godfather. They cancelled after the protests got out of hand….by non-students by the way, and here is the commander in chief talking about punishing an institute of higher learning. It’s absurd and frightening and completely out of control.

      Gardening is a good stress reliever. One of my favorites: fresh air, exercise and nature. Ahhhh

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  10. I’m with you, Alys–struggling to find the happy. People say it will get better . . . but do I believe that? It’s hard when I’ve read 5 incendiary tweets in the last hour or so alone. I read every headline with trepidation . . . Know that you’re not at all alone! There are many, many kindred spirits out here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kerry. That means a lot to me. His actions have already hurt so many people, and it seems relentless. Anyone that stands up to him or crosses him is labeled “dumb” or threatened with punishment or fired. I’m staying aware, writing letters, all the usual stuff and yet even our own congressional leaders seem unable to stop him. It’s truly frightening.

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    • Steve will not doubt have a Facebook page before we know it. 😉 I was thinking about you and the new fence last year, since we need to have one of our fences replaced as well. I remember the trampeling they’ve done in the past. I know it’s not easy putting up a fence around an established garden, so I’m dreading it.

      I love Colbert and Trevor Noah and I”m also looking forward to John Oliver’s return this Sunday. Voices of reason in this crazy time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. oh no, I’m really so so far behind on your posts hon. I only have 10 minutes here before I’m running out, but I’m popping back first thing tonight. You’ve had tons of rain hey?! It’s unfortunate it hasn’t come in measured amounts but all in one fell swoop. I’m watching the weather around the world, it’s really getting crazy. Austrailia’s on fire, California’s flooding, New Brunswick Canada will get burried in epic amounts of snow. Nothings measured about the weather these days. All the highways through the rockies were shut down this week for two days due to freezing rain. Only the unpredictable is certain it seems. How does dumb dumb and the deniers think this is normal? Gah!! Maddening!

    Loved your photo of Mouse’s paw prints 😀 He doesn’t notices the weather I guess xoxoxox

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